January 22, 2018

Word:The hazards of algorithms

The Global Search for Education

Ralph Müller-Eiselt is an expert in education policy and governance and heads the Bertelsmann Foundation’s task force on policy challenges and opportunities in a digitalized world.

Ralph Müller-Eiselt  Algorithms are as biased as the humans who designed or commissioned them with a certain intention. We should therefore spark an open debate about the goals of software systems with social impact. It is up to us as a society to decide where such systems should be used and to make sure that they are designed with the right purposes in mind. Secondly, we must remember that even algorithms designed with good intentions can produce bad results. The larger their potential effects on individual participation in society are, the more important is a preventive risk assessment and – once automated decision making is in use – a comprehensive evaluation to verify the intended results. Involving neutral third parties in this process can significantly help to build up trust in software-based decision making.

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